Chinese Fire-Bellied Toad
© 1996 Karsten Plesner, Herpetological Society of Denmark, Norway and Sweden
One major problem is distinguishing males from females. Males generally have rougher backs and their forearms are thicker than the females. These minor differences make them almost identical except during the breeding season, when males have black horny nuptial pads on their fingers and forearms. One way of telling which frogs are male and which are female is to observe the behaviour of the frogs. Whenever a frog tries to jump on the back of another frog and use the arms to grasp it, it's definitely a male. If the male isn't rejected immediately, there is a good chance that the second frog is a female and that she is even prepared to breed.
If the frogs haven't yet reached sexual maturity, there's no easy way to make sure that you have got both males and females.
Housing B. Orientalis
When the frogs are ready to breed the males began calling. The sound is somewhat like the sound of a small dog barking at some distance. The males constantly try jumping on the backs of any other frog in the vicinity. If a male inadvertently jump on the back of another male, the second male makes a special croak just to inform him that he's made a mistake. The first male doesn't always get the hint and consequently the second male can at times carry another male around for hours.
Unfortunately the male/female ratio can be as bad as 10:1. If a female is present and she's ready to breed, she'll swim around with a male on her back and the eggs will be attached singularly or in small groups to plants, rocks, roots or whatever can be found in the water. One female may produce more than two hundred eggs.
The eggs should be transferred to another aquarium. After 3 days at 24ºC (77ºF) the eggs will hatch. For another 3 days, while consuming the yolk sac, the tadpoles don't move around at all. After that they'll begin swimming around, trying to find something to eat.
The tadpoles can be raised on finely crushed flakes, frozen or freeze dried fish food.
The hind legs will begin to break through about 3 weeks after the eggs hatched and the 'arms' will begin to appear about a week later. Five weeks after hatching, the first frogs will go through metamorphosis and will be ready to leave the water.
The froglets will eat any kind of small insects and larvae. They'll be ready to breed before they are a year old. The eggs of younger and smaller females tend to be fewer and smaller in size.
A Few Peculiarities
If a B. orientalis is scared while on land, it will arch the ventral side upwards and display the bright colours of the ventral region. This is called unkenreflex and is named after the German name for B. bombina.
Mattison, C. 1987. Frogs & Toads of the World. Blandford Press, Poole, New York, Sydney. 191 pp.
Obst, F.J., Richter, K. & Jacob, U. 1988. The completely illustrated atlas of reptiles and amphibians for the terrarium. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune, New Jersey. 830 pp.
Rogner, M. 1986. Tropische Froesche. Albrecht Philler Verlag, Minden. 112 pp.
Schulte, R. 1984. Froesche und Kroeten. Verlag Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart. 240 pp.
Zimmerman, E. 1986. Breeding Terrarium Animals. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune, New Jersey. 384 pp
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